A sinkhole in Black Hawk forces people out of their homes and leads to a unique discovery

Local News

BLACK HAWK, S.D. (KELO) — A large sinkhole in Black Hawk, South Dakota is forcing people out of their homes. It appeared on Monday. Today, families are packing their bags and authorities believe they’ve discovered the cause.

Lori Kiehn lived in her Black Hawk home for 15 years. Today she and her fiancé are in the process of moving out.

“I bought it by myself so it was something that was really special. I built my life here, went through a divorce, kept it and now I get older and try to pay it off so I can retire and now it’s all for nothing,” Lori Kiehn, homeowner, said.

Altogether about 12 households and over 30 people have had to evacuate their homes and go somewhere else, due to the sinkhole.

Black Hawk Emergency Management wants to thank the Red Cross for providing a place to stay for the some of the people living in the area.

Fire Departments, law enforcement, search and rescue, and even trained cavers came to explore the site.

“We’ve decided to move out of our home and get everything we can. My garage is now buckling and splitting in the rafters. When the cave explorers went underneath my house, my house was only being stabilized by two rock pillars, 10 feet by 40 feet, then the rest is just free hanging in mid air,” Kiehn said.

What officials have learned is that the sinkhole runs about 400 feet Southeast and 160 feet North. It’s about 50 feet wide.

“It’s definitely an old gypsum mine, there’s still mining equipment, drill marks, large caverns. Because of some cave ins we can’t explore all of it,” Huntrods said.

Doug Huntrods, the Meade County Emergency Manager, says he is working with FEMA, the state, and other government agencies to know more about risks of the sinkhole and to help homeowners that seek state or federal aid.

“Right now we are just focusing on getting everything out and salvaging what we can and go onto the next step, the next day,” Kiehn said.

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